Review Summary: 'At Dawn' sounds like sunset on a beautiful summer evening with a cold beer in your hand. If that sounded like anything.
With it's shimmering mix of rock, country, folk, psychedelic, and occasionally reggae, At Dawn is one of those albums that makes you feel like it's summer even in the middle of a winter snowstorm. Filled with upbeat melodies, fantastic guitar hooks, and the wonderful vocals of frontman Jim James, this is the kind of music that you can sink into, making it seem like all the problems in the world are gone for a while.
The music itself is fantastically written from start to finish. Highlights include the blues-tinged 'Honest Man', the epic 'Strangulation!', which, after a frantic intro, features some beautifully minimalist guitar playing, before finally building up again at the end, and 'Phone Went West' with it's reggae-influenced rythym and reverb-laden guitar, and a chorus that you'll be singing along to in no time.
The album's one downfall could be that it does start to drag a bit in the middle. With a running time of almost 75 minutes it's not the shortest album in the world, and there are a few tracks which feature little more than Jim James and his guitar. Not that this is a bad thing, but the real high points of the album are the tracks where the whole band comes together and creates something special. And there's so many fantastic songs on here as to make it an essential listen.